Prolific visitors look to hammer hosts for second game in a row
|Stoke City: Sorensen; Wilson, Huth, Shawcross, Higginbotham; Etherington, Delap, Whitehead, Faye; Walters, Carew.
|West Ham Utd: Green; Tomkins, Upson, da Costa, Bridge; Noble, Parker, Hitzlsperger; Keane, Cole, Ba.
- With Matthew Etherington leaving the treatment room behind, Stoke may be hopeful of a change in fortunes. Since the winger joined the club, they have won 35 per cent of games with him in the team and just 18% without him.
- Premier League goalscoring may not be their forte, but Jonathan Walters has scored three goals in his last three FA Cup outings, while John Carew has netted eight in his last nine.
- Fortress Britannia may play a role in the game. Stoke are unbeaten there in 2011.
- Stoke have never won the FA Cup. They’ve never made it to the final either. However, if they overcome West Ham, they will be in their fourth semi-final and first since 1972.
- The game will be the first time both clubs have met Premier League opposition in this season’s FA Cup.
- Although West Ham have edged it between the two teams this season, it has been pretty even overall recently, with two wins for each and two draws in the last six encounters.
- Averaging only 37% of their shots on target in the Premier League before Demba Ba joined the Upton Park payroll, the Hammers are now testing the keeper with 49% of their efforts on goal.
- And goals are firmly on the menu for the east London side. Twenty in their last seven games means that West Ham are six goals ahead of their closest goalscoring rivals – Manchester City
- Thomas Hitzlsperger’s return to fitness is also having a marked improvement on the team. The side’s average ball possession has upped from 44 to 52%, while pass completion in the opposition half has increased from 66 to 73%.
- West Ham’s defense is weakest in the last 15 minutes of each half, conceding 11 from 31-45 mins and 12 from 76-90 mins this season.
March 5, 2011: West Ham 3-0 Stoke
An Asmir Begovic blunder afforded Demba Ba a rather fortuitous opener, but the hosts were a class above Stoke as Manuel Da Costa and Thomas Hiztlsperger strikes assured a stroll in the park for the Hammers last weekend.
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